The H1N1 Vaccine => Your Questions, Answered
The FDA approved four versions of the pandemic H1N1 (or “swine” flu) vaccine.
Sanofi Pasteur’s injected vaccine: Approved for ALL age groups (infants 6 months of age through adulthood and the elderly). It comes in several forms:
Prefilled single ½ dose syringe with NO mercury – for infants 6 thru 35 months of age. Prefilled single full dose syringe with NO mercury – for anyone 3 years and older.
Single-dose (full-dose) vial with NO mercury – for anyone 3 years and older.
Multidose bottle (contains ten full doses or twenty ½ doses) WITH 25 mcg of mercury per full dose – for anyone 6 months and older (infants 6 to 35 months would get a half dose (0.25 ml), 3 years and older would get the full 0.5 ml dose).
Other ingredients include: the viral proteins, egg proteins, gelatin, formaldehyde, polyethylene glycol p-isooctyphenyl ether, sucrose.
CSL’s injected vaccine: Approved for anyone 18 years and older. It comes in two forms:
Prefilled single-dose syringe with NO mercury.
Multidose bottle with ten doses WITH 24.5 mcg of mercury per dose.
Other ingredients include: the viral proteins, sodium chloride, sodium phosphate, potassium phosphate, calcium, taurodeoxycholate, egg protein, 2 antibiotics, and beta-propiolactone.
Novartis’s injected vaccine: Approved for anyone 4 years and older. It comes in two forms:
Prefilled single-dose syringes with a trace amount of mercury (less than 1 mcg because 99% of it is filtered out).
Multidose bottle with ten doses WITH 25 mcg of mercury per dose.
Other ingredients include: the viral proteins, sodium chloride, phosphate, egg proteins, two antibiotics, betapropiolactone, nonylphenol ethoxylate.
MedImmune’s live virus nasal spray vaccine: Approved for anyone 2 years through 49 years of age. There is no mercury.
Other ingredients include: the live viruses, egg protein, MSG, pig gelatin, arginine, sucrose, potassium phosphate, an antibiotic
How many doses are needed?
According to Dr. Sears, all infants and children from 6 months through 9 years of age are supposed to get two doses of this vaccine, one month apart (no matter what brand you are using, and you probably shouldn’t switch brands between the two doses). This is needed to generate an adequate immune response. Anyone who is 10 years and older only needs ONE dose.
Can doses be given along with other vaccines?
According to Dr. Sears, the product inserts make it very clear that no testing has yet been done on these versions of the flu vaccine to determine if they can be given along with other vaccines. The government is operating under the assumption that these vaccines should behave the same way as their regular seasonal flu vaccine counterparts.
According to Dr. Sears,technically you can get them together (both flu shots together) or with any other vaccine. But Dr. Sears’ advice? Get them alone, as far apart as you can from another flu shot or any other shots. More on this below.
What safety and efficacy testing has been done on these vaccines?
According to Dr. Sears,”The product inserts make it VERY clear that the “swine” flu versions of these vaccines have NOT undergone any testing to demonstrate whether or not they are safe and whether or not they even work. They are relying on the fact that they are so similar to the regular flu shots that they should work just as well”.
What about pregnant and/or nursing mothers?
According to Dr. Sears, “The flu shots are ALREADY recommended for pregnant and nursing moms, BUT (and this is a really huge but) the vaccine product inserts make it very clear that the regular flu vaccines have never been tested on pregnant or nursing women to determine if there is any harm to fetuses or young babies (with one exception – the Flumist nasal spray brand did have some testing in this area, BUT not enough, as is stated in the product insert).”
According to Dr. Sears, if you do get a flu shot, make sure it is mercury free (or at least only TRACE mercury).
What should I get first, regular or swine flu shots, and how do I space them out?
Dr. Sears’ basic advice for anyone is to only get one flu shot at a time, spaced out one month apart. So, it would take 3 months to work in all four doses (2 regular flu and 2 swine flu).
Dr. Sears advises parents to delay any vaccines for diseases that don’t pose an immediate danger to a baby’s or child’s life and catch up on those vaccines in Feb or March, a couple months after finishing the flu vaccines. Diseases that aren’t usually life-threatening (keeping in mind that ANY disease can be fatal, but the following are less likely to be) include measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, and Hep A. Diseases that don’t exist in the U.S. or that don’t occur during infancy in the U.S. (so even though they can be very severe, a child has almost no risk of catching it in the U.S.) that could be safely delayed are polio, Hep B, tetanus, and diphtheria (although to get a pertussis vaccine, tetanus and diphtheria have to come along with it).
Diseases that DO pose an immediate danger to babies and children are HIB and PC meningitis, Rotavitus, and Pertussis. So, Dr. Sears would rather children stay on time with those four vaccines and delay the flu shots (if you feel comfortable delaying flu shots).
For more information on ingredients contained in the H1N1, please visit the FDA’s site.
For more information about vaccines and candid insight and information from Dr. Sears, please visit Ask Dr. Sears
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